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Fitting a Backpack - Tips
Fit and go
Get the most comfort from your pack and ensure you have it fitting you well before that up coming trip. A well fitting pack will help ensure you are in the most comfort for your trip and those people with you don’t have to hear your gripes of dicomfort.
Fit the hip belt
Fill your pack with the weight that you expect to be carrying. Loosen all straps on the harness i.e top and side stabiliser straps, hip belt and shoulder straps. Put the pack on your back. Position the hip belt on your hipbone. Do up the hip belt buckle and tighten. Aim for the buckle to be just below your belly button. It may help to bend forward as in the image above.
Adjust the shoulder straps
Pull down and tighten the shoulder straps until they are comfortable. The straps should curve over your shoulders without leaving any gaps or cutting into your shoulders as in the image above.
Check harness back length
If your pack has an adjustable harness you need to check and adjust if necessary. As a guide the top stabiliser straps should connect from the pack to the shoulder strap at a point near or just in front of the top of your shoulder. The strap should also be at an angle greater than level as seen in the image below. You will need to refer to your specific pack instructions to see how to adjust the length of your harness.
Adjust chest strap
The smallest and maybe most under-utilised strap on a pack. Adjust the height of the chest strap by sliding it up and down each of the shoulder straps. The height should be about 3cm below the top of your sternum i.e. below the divot in the bottom of your neck.
Adjust top and side stabilser straps
Tighten the top stabilser straps bringing the top of the pack closer into your back, this will bring the load closer to your centre of balance creating a more stable pack making it easier to carry. Tighten the side stabiliser straps on the hip belt to control the amount of pivot/flex between your body and the pack. The tighter the strap the more weight transfer to your hips, however, too tight and it can restrict movement.
On the trail
You and your pack are ready! As you are on your trip using your pack it is normal that you will sometimes have to fine tune the pack as you go. Different terrain, fitness, weight and weather all have an effect on your pack. With the information in this article you should now be get able to get the most enjoyment from your pack wherever you go.